Saturday, October 03, 2009
Perhaps the rarest horror autograph in my collection
Film archivist and historian Scott MacQueen was a friend for many years and he wrote a definitive look at the various versions of the "Phantom of ther Opera" that was never published in its final form as a book. Parts of it did see print as a two part story in "American Cinematographer."
During the course of his research he was able to find and interview Mary Philbin, Lon Chaney's leading lady in the film. Although Philbin was a pretty prominent actress in the 1920s, she retired from films in the early 1930s and had been forgotten by Hollywood.
Scott did find her in the late 1980s and although she didn't provide many new insights into the film's production, it was impressive to an actress who had played such a pivotal role in a classic film.
He was kind enough to ask her for an autograph for me.